Social anthropology or cultural anthropology is the science of human
social and cultural behaviour and its development.
Social anthropology is conceptually and theoretically
similar to sociology. Methodological and ethical problems entailed by social research,
Anthropology originally developed as the study of
non-western cultures but many anthropologists now study western societies and the
disciplines of sociology and anthropology have been tending to converge.
Social Anthropology and Sociology BSc. at Brunel
University differs from social anthropology courses at other universities because of the
broad social science (rather than biological or archaeological) perspective from which it
Social anthropology modules at Brunel University
introduce students to the history and theory of social anthropology, and to some current
issues in the fields of ethnicity, gender, religion, and kinship. Sociology topics
include sociological theory, methods and contemporary social institutions.
Social anthropology research was given the highest
possible award, a 5 rating, in its Research Assessment Exercise.
The Times Good University Guide ranked Brunel University
second in the country for anthropology after Cambridge University.
Cultural and Social Anthropology, Stanford University
Honors in Cultural and Social Anthropology - Requirements and Procedures - Unlike ordinary
Majors, who meet faculty members primarily in classes, honors candidates work closely with
a faculty advisor on an independent research project, culminating in an honors paper.
The International Journal of Sociology and Anthropology (IJSA) is a
multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal published that will be monthly by Academic
Journals (academicjournals.org/IJSA ). JSA is dedicated to increasing the depth of the
subject across disciplines with the ultimate aim of expanding knowledge of the subject.
Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology - Member of the Max Planck Society -
Division of Social Anthropology, School of Global Studies, Göteborg
sant.gu.se/english.htm - In the division research is carried out in several fields
Anthropology of religion; Environmental anthropology; Anthropology of Health; Migration
and refugees; and Material Culture and Cross-cultural Aesthetics.
The "natural preserve of anthropologists": social anthropology,
scientific planning and development - Benoît de L'Estoile
Social Science Information, Vol. 36, No. 2, 343-376 (1997) SAGE Publications
This article focuses on the relationship between practical and cognitive interests in the
production of anthropological knowledge. It analyses the links between the projects of
directed social transformation in "backward" societies that characterize the
program of "development" since the 1920s, and the emergence of a discipline
aiming at a scientific understanding of these societies. A reconstruction of the process
of autonomization of British social anthropology in Africa during the interwar period thus
offers at the same time a genealogy of the uses of anthropology in development. It is
argued that, instead of viewing the relationship between anthropology and the colonial
administration as an alternative between instrumentalization or independence, it is more
fruitful to analyse it as structured by both common interests in producing knowledge about
colonized societies and a competition between academic specialists and "practical
men". The "professionalization" of social anthropology and its
institutionalization as an academic discipline then appears as a process of construction
of a monopoly of competence on non-western social phenomena. -
Economics and Social AnthropologyReconciling Differences
Peter J. Buckley, Malcolm Chapman, Centre for International Business, University of Leeds
(CIBUL), School of Business and Economic Studies, University of Leeds,
Human Relations, Vol. 49, No. 9, 1123-1150 (1996) © 1996 The Tavistock Institute
This paper is the outcome of collaborative work between an economist and a social
anthropologist. It explores the differences of outlook and approach between these two
subjects, both in general, and in the specific context of a research project, "The
Management of Cooperative Strategies," which tests economistic hypotheses using
methods largely derived from social anthropology. There remain major dissonanaces between
the two subjects, but an attempt is made here to find fruitful common ground. -
Is Social Anthropology Still Worth the Trouble? A Response to Some Echoes from
America - Author: Godelier M.
Source: Ethnos, Volume 65, Number 3, 1 November 2000, pp. 301-316(16)
Abstract: More than broadly agreeing on the need for a critical deconstruction of the very
foundations of anthropological theory and practice aimed at uncovering the elements
implicitly excluded from analysis, the silences in a reasoning process and the blind spots
in observations, the author stresses need to distinguish between this kind of
deconstruction, which is positive and essential for any knowledge-building activity, and
another deconstruction which can lead to hyper-relativism. The second tendency, baptized
'postmodernism' and highly popular in the USA, is a largely overblown enterprise of
deconstructive dissolution which, if carried to its logical conclusion, threatens to
submerge social anthropology in the rising tide of 'Cultural Studies'. Postmodernist
theory is a somewhat eclectic mixture of (often contradictory) ideas borrowed from such
French thinkers as Foucault, Derrida and Lyotard, which is advanced in support of the idea
that a 'science of man', in other words, a set of systematic observations, analyses and
findings subjected to testing and verification, is not possible. - ingentaconnect.com
The Role of Social Anthropology in the Debate on Funeral Rites in Africa
Author: van 't Spijker, Gerard - Exchange, Volume 34, Number 3, 2005, pp. 248-268(21)
Abstract: In view of the actual debate on funeral rites in Christian Churches in Africa, a
revision of the old position of missionaries that forbade all traditional ritual
concerning death as belonging to paganism should be undertaken on the basis of social
anthropological research which analyses structure and function of the funeral practices.
Thus the mourning rites are understood as means of purification and reconciliation of the
bereaved extended family. Parallels between African rituals and those of Israel of the Old
Testament may also be taken into account. The efforts towards contextualisation of the
Christian message in days of mourning by the ancient Ethiopian Church and by churches in
Zimbabwe of today may serve as guidelines for developing rituals marking the end of
mourning focused on reconciliation and the victory of life over death. -
BRITISH SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY: A Retrospective
Jonathan Spencer, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh,
Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 29: 1-24 (Volume publication date October 2000)
This article reviews the history of British social anthropology, concentrating on the
expansion of the discipline in the British university sector since the 1960s. Particular
emphasis is placed on the relationship between social anthropology and the main source of
its funding, the British government, in particular the Economic and Social Research
Council. After a particularly difficult time in the 1980s, social anthropology in the
1990s has grown swiftly. In this period of growth, formerly crucial
boundariesbetween academic anthropology and practical policy-related research,
between "social" and "cultural" anthropologyappear to have
withered away. Yet British social anthropology retains much of its distinctive identity,
not least because of the peculiar institutional structures, such as the research seminar,
in which the social anthropological habitus is reproduced in new generations of
researchers. - arjournals.annualreviews.org
THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF ONLINE COMMUNITIES
Samuel M. Wilson and Leighton C. Peterson Department of Anthropology, The University
of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712; email: email@example.com
Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 31: 449-467 (Volume publication date October 2002)
Information and communication technologies based on the Internet have enabled the
emergence of new sorts of communities and communicative practicesphenomena worthy of
the attention of anthropological researchers. Despite early assessments of the
revolutionary nature of the Internet and the enormous transformations it would bring
about, the changes have been less dramatic and more embedded in existing practices and
power relations of everyday life. This review explores researchers' questions, approaches,
and insights within anthropology and some relevant related fields, and it seeks to
identify promising new directions for study. The general conclusion is that the
technologies comprising the Internet, and all the text and media that exist within it, are
in themselves cultural products. Anthropology is thus well suited to the further
investigation of these new, and not so new, phenomena. - arjournals.annualreviews.org
Social anthropology in sensitive research contexts. A case study: State prisons, Province
of Neuquén, Argentina* - Beatriz Kalinsky
International Social Science Journal Volume 56 Issue 179 Page 153 - March 2004
This paper discusses some of the methodological and ethical problems entailed by social
research, specifically anthropology, in State prisons in the Province of Neuquén,
Argentina. Traditional anthropological research methodology has to be combined with a
range of additional precautions because this is a sensitive field for research where a
balance (almost always an unstable one) must be struck among the different actors
involved: inmates, warders, the authorities, members of the judiciary and inmates'
families. Particular account needs to be taken of the relations among inmates, and between
these and their warders, to ensure that existing strains are not exacerbated. At the same
time it is important not to take sides, since the aim is to sustain as cordial and open a
dialogue as possible with all parties. This does not mean, however, that the social
researcher is prevented from taking an ethical stance towards crimes, non-observance of
inmates' rights, or outright, repeated violations of these rights. This is a field of
conflict where researchers have to mark out a position of their own, remaining independent
of the actors involved while keeping channels of communication open so that the research
can be carried forward. - blackwell-synergy.com
Industry and inequality: The social anthropology of Indian labour : Mark Holstrom,
(Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1984) pp. 342.
The Building of British Social Anthropology: W. H. R. Rivers and His Cambridge Disciples
in the Development of Kinship Studies, 1898-1931. by Ian Langham
Addiction as a life style: on the social anthropology of addiction [Article in German]
Emrich HM, Eggers C. - Med. Hochschule Hannover, Abt. Klinische Psychiatrie und
Psychotherapie, Hannover. - Psychiatr Prax. 2001 Mar;28(2):55-9.
Regularly the unsolved problems of addiction- and dependence-research are discussed in the
sense of the psycho-body-dichotomy, arguing that the biological mechanisms of
reward-systems and their pathobiochemistry have to be confronted with the psychological
and philosophical/anthropological dimensions within persons. The present paper, however,
tries to demonstrate that this dichotomy is insufficient insofar as social-anthropological
components of being addicted, which represent integrative constituents of a theory of
addiction, are neglected within such a scheme. The developmental-psychological and
philosophical-psychological aspects of socialization are considered and related to
internal valuating systems and reality models regarding the problems of drugs and
dependency. Herein it is shown that especially the model of Rene Girard, constituting
"mimetic triangulation", is applicable to the understanding of the
microsocialization of drug-consumers. This is also demonstrated in film-examples. It is
shown that the problem of drug-addiction cannot be solved from a
neurobiological/biochemical--and also a psychotherapeutic/psychoanalytic concept--without
incorporating the dynamics and the value-worlds within groups which should also be
considered to be therapeutically influenceable. - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Syllabus - Social Anthropology and Sociology BSc
Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex - brunel.ac.uk/ courses/ug/S/SCLANTH-SOC.shtml#aims
Social anthropology at Brunel is one of the more outward-looking and cosmopolitan social
sciences, its subject being the documentation and explanation of cultural diversity. It is
particularly suited to students who are curious about their own and other societies and
who are interested in understanding social processes and meanings in the world around
them. You will apply the ideas of social anthropology to practical issues and will gain a
solid grounding in the social sciences (sociology, psychology, media and communications).
Special emphasis in placed on cross-cultural studies.
Sociologists are concerned with developing theories that explain the changing nature of
social behaviour in their own and other societies. The kinds of question with which they
are concerned are: what is society? How and why is it changing? What are the opportunities
for future change and development?
The earliest sociologists tried to understand the major issues of their time - poverty,
unemployment, social conflict, and the social and economic consequences of rapid and
profound industrial and economic change. Sociologists today continue to examine how such
social issues are redefined by contemporary processes of individualisation, globalisation
and the rapid growth of new forms of communication.
Within this broad framework, a central theme of Sociology at Brunel is the study of the
development of techno-cultural phenomena such as science, technology, and environmental
issues which straddle traditional conceptual distinctions between the social, the natural,
the technical and the material. It also needs to be stressed that, at Brunel, Sociology
has developed a particularly close relationship with Communication and Media Studies,
reflecting and emphasising the central and ever-increasing importance of the
communications media within our culture. Among the more specific interests of Brunel
sociologists are, for example, the social construction of science and technology, social
theory, celebrity culture, the influence the media, environmental risk, feminist if
virtual society, media regulation, and language and social interaction. These various
inter strongly reflected in the options available third level of our degree course.
This degree is particularly suited to students who are curious about their own and other
societies and who are interested in understanding social processes and meanings in the
world around them. You will apply the ideas of social anthropology and sociology to
practical issues and will gain a solid grounding in human sciences (sociology, psychology,
media and communications). Special emphasis in placed on cross-cultural studies.
Teaching and student support are rated "excellent" by Teaching Quality
Social anthropology research was given the highest possible award, a 5 rating, in its
Research Assessment Exercise.
The Times Good University Guide ranked Brunel second in the country for anthropology after
This course differs from social anthropology courses at other universities because of the
broad social science (rather than biological or archaeological) perspective from which it
There are opportunities to take non-human sciences options such as law, management,
economics, politics, history and languages.
Students have the opportunity to study a semester or a year at one of 15 European
There is an exchange programme with the University of New Mexico's famous Anthropology
You can develop ethnographic/sociological expertise through work placement experience.
Students carry out two 22-week placements.
You can carry out fieldwork placements overseas. Many students spend their second work
placement abroad, engaged in research in countries such as: South Africa, Botswana, India
Students can gain full-time employment with organisations where they carried out their
Facilities are also rated "excellent" by TQA inspectors.
Rigorous training is provided in a range of methodologies and research skills appropriate
to social anthropology and sociology.
You will gain a broad social science training in your first year. This includes an
introduction to key theoretical issues and practical training in research methods, such as
interviewing and participant observation.
In addition to modules in social anthropology, psychology, sociology and communications
and media studies, you will have the opportunity to study topics from other disciplines:
history, economics, management, politics, finance, law or languages (French, German,
Spanish and Italian at a variety of ability levels).
Social anthropology modules introduce students to the history and theory of social
anthropology, and to some current issues in the fields of ethnicity, gender, religion, and
kinship. Sociology topics include sociological theory, methods and contemporary social
institutions. You also continue your studies of research methods, and conduct your own
You can choose from a wide range of advanced options in topics as varied as family,
gender, kinship, ethnicity, medical anthropology and cultural patterns of consumption.
You will select course modules from those offered by each of the two subjects:
Social Anthropology BSc